In a message to the members of the Focolare Movement, Chiara Lubich described Giosi Guella as “One of the main pillars of the Movement, who had a very special task.
She took care of the aspect of “communion of goods and work” for the entire Focolare Movement. But she was also responsible for the Movement in Trent, Rome, Milan, Benelux and the United States of America.
On 23 April 1944, Giosi Guella was invited by a friend to spend a Sunday in the countryside with a group of young women. She was twenty-one years old at the time. This is where Giosi, who had been born in a mountain region of Trent that was poor but rich in values, met Chiara Lubich and her companions for the first time.
“I sensed God’s presence so strongly that I can say that God became the Ideal of my life on that very day,” Giosi narrates. And she also recalls that «Chiara was surprised to see me there, because the week before she she had seen me going by somewhere, and had entrusted me to Jesus so that, when He wanted, He might lead me to his Love. And I was already there!”
From then on Giosi decided to follow Chiara’s Ideal. Fascinated, as a child, by the courage of the missionaries, she now threw herself into this new work of God with similar zeal: “We began, in a big way, to help the poor. . . It wasn’t enough for us to give alms to those we met on the street. We wanted to solve the problem altogether, to get to the bottom of it. We ended up each of us bringing home a poor person each day. When we were supposed to be seven at the dinner table, we would be fourteen!” Giosi continues: “Then we realized that there are also other types of poor people, because they didn’t have God! It wasn’t enough to give sufficient amounts bread to the needy. Above all we had to give God!”
God, yes, but along with other practical things: rent money, legal documents, groceries, school fees, clothing, monthly budgets. . . Giosi was always one with her feet on the ground and Chiara immediately recognized this quality in her. She was entrusted with developing the communion of goods which was there right from the start of the nascent Movement, as it was in the ancient Christian communities.
Giosi was like a magnet for the poor and afflicted. She truly incarnated the words: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Mt. 11:28), which was the sentence of the Gospel that Chiara had chosen for her.
Giosi spent time in Italy, Benelux and in the United States of America, where she contributed to the expansion of the Movement, and where she is fondly and gratefully remembered until today.
When the illness appeared, which led to her death on 17 May 1995, an entire network of people gathered near to her, people whom she had helped in the past.
Just a few days before dying, she wrote to Chiara: “Be assured of my unity and my daily offering, for your demanding commitments that are up coming.” Her constant effort to live for others remained with her until the end.